I left Buffalo on December 9 and arrived in Chicago (via New York City, Denver, Riverton, WY) on December 24. If that seems a little unbelievable even for a tour route your are correct. See, a few weeks before we had been informed that we would be going on an unscheduled two week layoff.

On the original schedule there was no holiday break. This is not unusual. We were to leave Buffalo and spend the final three weeks of 2011 at The Cadillac Palace in Chicago, IL. Perfect. But let’s rewind. Remember at the beginning of this blog I alluded to the troubled past of this show. That trouble all began in Chicago. Almost exactly two years prior to our scheduled arrival, the pre-Broadway tryout version of the show opened down the street at The Oriental. It ran for a few weeks to sold out houses and extremely mixed reviews. Most seemed to think it had great potential but hadn’t realized that potential. After leaving Chicago the show landed with a thud in New York. The Broadway show received almost universally negative reviews. There simply wasn’t enough time to make the necessary changes and many of the changes that were made didn’t work. So here we are, version 3.0 as I said, and it seems it is too little too late for the Chicago crowd. We just weren’t selling. Because of that the presenters and producers made the decision to cancel the first two weeks of our run in Chicago. While none of us were too happy about the loss of work and the loss of two weeks in a great city, many of us were able to spend part of the holidays with family. A rarity for touring stagehands.

So I left Buffalo and flew to NYC. Home. It was really nice to spend a few days in the city. Sleeping in my own bed. Cooking in my own kitchen. All of the little things you take for granted when you aren’t on the road. After several days of running all over the city seeing friends and doing errands, my girlfriend and I took off to see my parents. Now I’m sure there are more extreme differences in setting but it’s a pretty drastic shift to leave Manhattan and arrive in Riverton, Wyoming. My parents live on a 300 acre ranch and, in my opinion, there is no better place to go and let your mind shut down for a little while. We had a great visit and it was nice to have a little break from work. Not wanting to fly on Christmas Day we chose to fly on Christmas Eve. My girlfriend and I spent Christmas Day in Chicago and then it was back to work on the 26th.

I know there are a lot of varying stories and experiences with IATSE crews. I should also take this moment to clarify that this is an IATSE Yellowcard show. Every member of the road crew is an IATSE stagehand working under a Pink Contract. I’ll get into that more in a different post if there is interest. The point I want to make here is that IATSE Local 2 in Chicago is one of the best. The guys just know what needs to be done and, if you are on your game, you can have a very very easy time getting the show in and out. A few of our local crew had been involved in the tryout version and it was nice to get reacquainted and/or finally meet some friends of friends. We still struggled to sell our single week but I think the producers felt they accomplished their goal in coming back: The reviews were positive. Version 3.0 now had some documented validation.

While I’m bragging on Chicago locals, I want to give a nod to the local musicians as well. This band was simply fantastic and a pleasure to mix.

I’m hoping to get caught up to real time in the next week or so and be able to write as interesting things happen instead of pulling from memory. That will also give me a better chance to answer any questions in more detail as they arise. Thanks for reading.

Jake

Photos:

So much for that mild winter
The only problem with being home to cook is you have to clean up your own messes.
Celebrating our 100th performance in Chicago (I take a lot of food pics, apparently)
A kitchenette in Chicago! Christmas breakfast.
My view from FOH.

1 COMMENT

  1. Good stuff, Jake, thanks again for sharing! Awesome to meet you and the GF last weekend… we thought the show both talent and technically was excellent. Enjoy the remainder of your time here in Boston, not to mention the 50 degree February days 8)~8-)~:cool:

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